Goooal!!!Development at Wonderland Might Include Soccer Stadium

September 20, 2012
By

A groundbreaking development at the former Wonderland Dog Track property is apparently knocking on the City’s door and it could include a 15,000-seat soccer stadium with accompanying parking.

Sources told the Journal this week that talks regarding the building of a new soccer stadium at Wonderland have escalated quickly as of late, and the entire plan is now apparently running hand-in-hand with the casino proposal at Suffolk Downs.

“They have been in talks for awhile, but things are really moving quickly now and the talks are supposedly in the final stages – even though the actual plan is probably far off,” said the well-placed source. But he would not reveal who the city or the track is in talks with regarding the stadium development.

Talk about a stadium at Wonderland has been at low levels for more than a year. Earlier this year, Mayor Dan Rizzo confirmed that there was some interest from the City and the New England Revolution Major League Soccer team about such a plan. Then, just last month, Economic Development Director John Festa indicated that the City had engaged in talks with the Kraft family (who own the team, along with being the owners of the New England Patriots).

However, that was quite some time ago.

Mayor Rizzo, when asked this week, said neither he nor Festa would comment on the details of the negotiations involving development at Wonderland.

Nothing could be confirmed this week on the record by any City officials or anyone involved in the discussions.

City Councillors said that they were not aware of the escalated discussions, and that they were curious about the plan, but skeptical about the traffic implications.

Councillor Tony Zambuto, chair of the Council’s Economic Development Committee, said he would be open to the idea, but has concerns about traffic.

“At first blush, I’m excited about something like that,” said Zambuto, “but there’s also a lot about it that makes me nervous. I’d like to see how they plan to mitigate the traffic there. If you can do something to mitigate the traffic, that would be a very good thing. Traffic is the big stumbling block I would say.”

Councillor-at-large Bob Haas said he would like to consider such a plan carefully, as Wonderland has a great deal of potential.

“The word is out there about this, but you have to ask what venture they’re after,” said Haas. “The bottom line is we want the biggest bang for our buck there. We have to really analyze what’s best for that property. I have always thought that bringing an outlet mall with name brands would be a good fit there. Look at Maine and how many people drive up there for outlets. This would be the only place in Greater Boston with that kind of thing.”

Meanwhile, Ward 5 Councillor John Powers said he was probably not going to be going along with any soccer stadium in his ward.

“I don’t have any problem with the game of soccer,” he said. “My concern is that the traffic coming there all at once will be a big burden on the residents, particularly if a casino also comes in. You can only put so many cars on the highway. I think I’d be more in favor of something like the Wonderland Marketplace with retail and offices where people don’t come and go all at once.”

No one could confirm when any of the information about a soccer stadium at Wonderland might become public information, but some have postulated that when the City’s mitigation package come out in the next month or so, the plan might be more openly discussed.

  • TW

    Revere, wake up. A soccer stadium would be the best thing to happen in town in decades.

  • http://twitter.com/bensaufley Ben Saufley

    I think some of these people are missing the point that a stadium on the T would eliminate the *need* for a significant portion of the car traffic they’re so concerned about. And at 15k? I think the Revs could easily get most of that crowd from the T-connected population of Boston.

    There are other valid concerns – more shops might bring more people from elsewhere, more of a constant stream of revenue, etc (maybe). And maybe that could be addressed – look at the shops at Patriot Place, for instance. But I’m just not convinced on the highway strain argument.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_V5JMRUAKDIQLIHAFZFYYHUFLKM William

    I would obviously be opposed to any more traffic , especially with 15,000 more people coming into Ward 5 at one time. Revere has had more than its share of traffic problems and high insurance rates. How much more do we have to take? sincerely Bill Bell

  • drensber

    This would be a great deal for many reasons. Unlike a casino, traffic would at least be plannable and predictible. Also, one of the main reasons that the Krafts are interested in this site is because of its location on the Blue Line (and potentially commuter rail as well). Revere could simply stop providing people in the area with free parking, and then raise the price for stadium parking to the extent that most people would take public transit (just like they presently do in Fenway).

    Unfortunately, the dirty old men who run Revere are (in addition to being dirty and corrupt) too stuck in the idea of 1953-era automobile-oriented planning to ever understand this at all. And there are a lot of dirty old white-trash in Revere who continue to vote them into power. That’s starting to change, but it may happen too slowly for a great opportunity like this to ever come to fruition.

  • TW

    Between the T and carpooling, 15,000 people probably amounts to 2,000 more cars. That is an increase but not unworkable by any means.

  • drensber

    Funny too how most of the crusty old “Oh no, traffic! Where am I going to pahk my three huge cahs!” crowd is fully behind the casino idea, even though the owners of Suffolk Downs have given us at least a dozen reasons (in half as many months) to not trust them.

  • voter156

    Who the hell is going to pay for it? and come on, really soccer ? who the hell really plays that sport but small children and immigrants and i dont want to sound like a bigot. is it possible to look for funds somewhere to say a animal hospital school, a technical field type of sharing for high school grads. not going to college. especially immigrant youth left out because who they are, I have seen them of high talent not included and it is a shame,they didnt ask for to be our futhure ditch diggers. this could be a world class idea for revere as the city is land poor and a rich futhure.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ssweeney1 Sean Sweeney

    You sound like a typical classless American. “Oh no, soccer!” Get real. Real athletes play football, not your silly Americanized brand where 22 fat men wearing 40 pounds of Kevlar hump each other over an egg-shaped ball and can’t run more than three feet without having to gasp for breath. Real athletes don’t use their hands. Little girls wear padding.

    Enjoy watching your silly throwball matches that last over three hours. Seriously? A 60-minute game lasts that long? Meanwhile, football, 90 minutes in length, takes less than two.

  • drensber

    Another fine example of a Revereite stuck in 1953 era thinking. Back in 2012, there is actually a big world outside of Revere/Saugus, and you would probably be surprised at how popular Soccer has become there. Who goes to casinos besides old people (and young people who are bad at math)?

  • TW

    MLS soccer draws more fans per game than the NHL and the NBA. The Liverpool game at Fenway was the biggest moneymaker they’ve had in years.
    You are really living under a rock. And by they way, we are all immigrants.

  • http://twitter.com/ScottyRayJ Scotty Ray

    If you say things like, “I don’t want to sound like a bigot,” you’re probably a bigot.

  • Please Speak English

    Yup Revere is the New 3rd world for sure

  • True

    I dont care for Hockey but the only reason it out draws NBA and the NHL is because they play in smaller indoor areas

  • Steve

    Most MLS stadiums seat/sell less than 20,000 tickets. Plenty of NHL and NBA arenas are at that level or bigger. Only Seattle and LA really go above that in soccer.

  • Steve

    Nobody drives to Foxboro for Revs games now, and half the people that do would no longer have to drive if the new stadium was built on a T line. Like Wonderland. There wouldn’t be an unmanageable increase in traffic.

    Now, a casino…

  • Sorry Charlie

    Total attendants MLS soccer 5 millon -nhl total attendance 2010 2011 -21,470,155
    LeagueSportCountrySeasonGamesAverage attendanceTotal attendanceMajor League BaseballBaseball United States / Canada20112,420[1]30,352[2]73,451,522Nippon Professional BaseballBaseball Japan201084625,626[3]21,679,596National Hockey LeagueIce hockey United States / Canada2011–121,230[4]17,455[5]21,470,155National Football LeagueAmerican football United States201125467,358[6][7][8]17,124,389National Basketball AssociationBasketball United States / Canada2011–12990[9]17,274[10]17,100,861BundesligaAssociation football Germany2011–1230645,116[11]13,805,496Premier LeagueAssociation football England / Wales[12]2011–1238034,60113,148,465[13]La LigaAssociation football Spain2011–1238030,27511,504,567Football League ChampionshipAssociation football England / Wales[14]2011–1255217,7389,791,690[15]Serie AAssociation football Italy2011–1238023,459[16]7,765,082

  • http://www.longlivehw.com Josh/HW

    I sure would love a stadium on the line.

  • Mike

    The Revolution play from April to November, and at home just twice a month. On weekends. Get it done, Revere!

  • drensber

    “I think I’d be more in favor of something like the Wonderland Marketplace with retail and offices where people don’t come and go all at once.”

    Here we have an opportunity to bring something unique to Revere, and good-ole-boy Powers is advocating for yet another tacky strip mall (as if Revere doesn’t already have enough). Can the beach residents just vote this guy out of office already!? I’m sure his Old Spice smells great, but seriously, what other endearing qualities does this guy have?

    Hey, John, while you’re brainstorming, why won’t you try to get a Wal*Mart to move in. Then we could join Lynn as the only other city in the country that has a seaside Wal*Mart! People would probably come from all over the world just to see how fucked up we are!

  • Shalrie’s Bong

    The numbers you have given are total attendance for an entire season – the NHL plays 82 games a season, MLS plays 34. On a PER GAME basis MLS’ average attendance is higher than the NHL’s & NBA’s -
    MLS: 18,733 | NHL: 17,455 | NBA: 17,273
    http://www.newjerseynewsroom.com/professional/nba-and-nhl-get-the-boot-mls-is-the-3rd-most-attended-sports-league-in-america

    MLS also has the eighth highest average attendance of all soccer leagues world-wide: http://aol.sportingnews.com/soccer/story/2012-08-20/mls-attendance-ranks-no-8-among-soccer-leagues-worldwide

  • http://twitter.com/Jack_The_Mc Jack McNamara

    That would be a FANTASTIC location for a stadium. Blue line connection, AWESOME!

  • Alex

    See Livestrong Sporting Park in KC next to a large development of shops and a casino very little traffic issues. Get them on the line and find out how they did it. It would be a good model.

  • pntopine

    bob hass has the right idea. Put a soccer stadium in Lynn and put something we can all enjoy at the site.

  • Kevin H.

    FINALLY!!! Though….Somerville would be a another great option!

  • http://twitter.com/bensaufley Ben Saufley

    I just want to say that you can like both. I do. Revs Season Ticket-holder, lifelong Pats fan. They’re different sports. You don’t have to like both, but you sure can. And it’s not a battle, you don’t have to pick a side here. Soccer won’t grow in America by antagonizing other sports. It’s rare that anything’s accomplished that way.

    Oh, and I say this all as a Mainer, born and raised, living now in Boston. Neither a child, nor an immigrant (unless you go several generations back – then, like TW says, we’re all immigrants; and, well, I suppose I used to be a child as well). But man, do I love me some soccer. I would love to see this stadium in Revere.

  • jiggy with it

    I would enjoy as everyone in this area could ,a medical emporium for the land at wonderland,The Caesar Group and the medical groups could invest in its future in this area for all interested parties,”Caesar IS COMING”beware of the Generals needs.

  • thomas

    don’t forget the steroids

Search the Journal


Recent Activity

Full Print Edition

Get Adobe Flash player